Oaths such as this are common in some lands where Christians face death on a regular basis. In the past few years, versions of the Martyr’s Oath have appeared in Persian and Arab countries, usually scrawled in hurried handwriting.
It is not uncommon to hear of Christians even incorporating it in their wedding vows, as they begin their lives together as evangelists and church planters in lands where conversion to Jesus as Lord is a capital offense.
In some bible schools in India, graduating students must take the Martyr’s Oath publicly during the commencement, or they will not receive their diploma.
At the climax of the ceremony, these graduates rise to their feet, raise their hand, and repeat similar words to these:
TODAY, I stand as a dead man. I declare that in Jesus Christ, I am saved by His blood, and thus I am dead to sin, and no longer dead in my sin. TODAY, I stand and declare that I surrender my will and my life, to His will and His life.
I shall go where He sends me, without asking questions. I shall go to whomever He sends me, without seeking fame. I shall preach to everyone, even if they hate me. I am an Ambassador of the Cross, and must deliver the Message. I shall pour my life out to reach my family, my friends, my neighbors, and my city.
I embrace the shame of the Cross, and I fear nothing but God. I welcome suffering, shame, persecution, beatings, imprisonment and death, but I will not be silenced.
If I am killed, I pray that my blood should be a harvest for souls. This is my city. I dare not do less.
Following their being graduated, each student is given three items, and only three items. As they walk across the stage and receive their diploma following their oath, each graduate takes into his possession:
- a new bible
- a new bicycle
- and a one-way train ticket to their field of service
They have no “Plan B.”